Old Mill Estate - Langhorne Creek
Peter and Vicki Widdop and their daughters, Carrie-Ann, Marnie, Toni and Shelley (two engineers, a pharmacist and a scientist) have grown premium wine grapes on the delta of the Bremer River at Langhorne Creek, South Australia since 1993.
The Widdop family named their estate Old Mill after the ancient lucerne chaff-cutting mill they operated for many years before moving into viticulture.
The Old Mill vineyards include Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, and Touriga. Other exotic varieties are being considered, according to the ideal climatic and geological conditions of their source relative to those of the Bremer Delta.
While Old Mill Estate has sold all its grapes in the past, the business is now taking a bright new direction as the vineyards are retuned to provide lower yields of even more intensely-flavoured fruit for the Old Mill brand.
In recent years, the Widdops deflected parcels of their best Old Mill Estate fruit to trial wines of their own. In 2005, they released two assertive, individualistic delights: a classic Langhorne Creek 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon varietal dry red, and a Touriga Rosé – an exceptionally characterful, aromatic, crunchy, dry cult rosé made from a variety the Portuguese evolved to make vintage port!
The Langhorne Creek district is best known for its traditional vineyards in deep black flood plain alluvium. Because these original vineyards generally follow the watercourses (primarily the Bremer), upon which they depend for flood irrigation, they’re usually overhung by lofty river red gums, which add minty eucalyptols to the classic chocolate mud cake flavours that made the district famous.
Vine roots cannot absorb oils, so the eucalyptus mintiness these old vineyards produce must come from volatile airborne eucalyptol which infests the soil via decaying gum leaves, and rises to cling to the blume of the berries when temperature and humidity is high enough.
The Old Mill vineyards, which straddle the Bremer, include some of this traditional terroir, but, being closer to Lake Alexandrina, which is only 2 km to the south, the soils also stretch to complex sandy loams and riverine gravels over clay, producing flavours less regionally distinctive, only because these characters are smoother and more classically formed, with less eucalyptol and more pure berry fruitiness.